Year of Grant: 2013
Location: United Kingdom
Cancer is the most common cause of death in children aged 1-14 years of age. Neuroblastoma is a particularly complex type of cancer that affects children mostly under the age of five. Currently, children are exposed to numerous imaging procedures and techniques to stage the disease, many of which have to be carried out under full anesthesia. More than 60% of patients with high risk neuroblastoma experience relapse or disease progression and in this setting, outcome is extremely poor, with long-term survival below 10%.
Neuroblastomas are classified into different risk categories, based on criteria such as the stage of disease, the child’s age, and tumor histology, grade and genetic profile. Treatment is chosen on the basis of this classification. Current staging of neuroblastoma usually involves a child undergoing more than one of these types of scan.
Multiple scanning procedures can prove traumatic for these, often very young, children, and in many cases (typically for those under five years of age) each scan is carried out under general anesthetic to ensure images of sufficient quality are obtained. This in itself carries risks and can be stressful for the child and their family. Therefore, finding a way of reducing the number of scans a child needs to undergo, whilst maintaining or improving the quality and amount of information gained, would be a hugely beneficial step forward.
This study evaluates the use of a novel radiotracer, 124-iodine, in combination with the latest and most advanced scanning methods, PET/CT and PET/MRI, to achieve a more accurate picture of the disease spread within the body in a single scan as compared to the multiple tests currently used.
Besides making treatment for these children more effective, an improved ability to image the disease would provide a major boost and improve current standards for the evaluation of new and improved treatments for the disease.